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Tag: Tom Atencio

Is Affliction Going Kamikaze to Screw with UFC 100?

(Whaddaya say, Baby Face, feel like taking a pay cut and burning some bridges?)

According to FiveOuncesofPain, Affliction is looking at holding their third event on July 11, 2009.  If you’re thinking that this date sounds familiar for some reason, congratulations, you are an astute observer!  Yeah, July 11 is when UFC 100 is.  And it’s kind of a big deal to the UFC.  So why would Affliction guarantee that their event gets counter-programmed by scheduling it on the same night as one of the biggest UFC cards ever?  Possibly because they know they’re done and want to hurt the UFC however they can on the way out.

That’s what Sam Caplan thinks, anyway.  According to his report Affliction is offering “restructured” contracts to their fighters (read: asking them to fight cheap) in the hopes of lowering overhead costs and getting the event on network TV or basic cable.  They know that no pay-per-view distributor wants to go head to head with the UFC, but if they can offer their show up for free they figure it might hurt the UFC’s PPV buys just a little, and what the hell, Affliction isn’t looking to promote any events after this one anyway.


Atenicio Denies Rumors That Affliction MMA Is Finished

Tom Atencio MMA Affliction
(Props: CombatLifestyle)

BloodyElbow kicked up a lot of dust last night when they published a rumor saying that Affliction was preparing to shut its doors as an MMA promotion, and might be trying to arrange a deal with Zuffa to cut some of their extensive losses. In response, Tom Atencio went on the Hardcore Sports Rage show (Sirius 98) to deny the reports, saying that Affliction’s MMA promotion still had the backing of Golden Boy Promotions, Donald Trump and M-1 Global:

"The rumors are just that, rumors, they’re not true, there’s no truth to it. People love to build you up, but they love to watch you fall even more and hopefully I’m not that guy. I’ve always maintained that I’ve taken the high road, I don’t talk shit about people."

The rumor apparently originated from an incident on the Tom Leykis Show, where someone called in claiming to be the Affliction VP. The real Tom Atencio denies he was on the show, and denies that Affliction is reaching out to the UFC for a parachute, though he wouldn’t speak about the details of the company’s financials. ("That’s like me coming in and asking you how much you make at your company," he said.) Atencio suggested that the UFC felt threatened by Affliction’s relationship with Fedor Emelianenko, and asked everyone to just please chill out:


Affliction Looking at July/August for Event #3

Oscar De La Hoya Donald Trump Fedor Emelianenko Tom Atencio Vadim Finkelstein
("Yes, thanks you very much for this commemorative dinner plate.")

Though we enjoyed much hearty debate about how quickly Affliction’s MMA promotion would crash and burn after "Day of Reckoning," the official company line is that a third event will be held this summer, possibly in Anaheim (again) or Atlantic City. As Tom Atencio told FiveOuncesofPain:

"We’re going to have a third event. It’s just a matter of when. Possibly in July, possibly in August. I’m just not really sure. We’re looking and we’re sitting down, trying to figure everything out.”

Atencio, like everyone else, expects Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett to headline this theoretical third show, saying "That’s what I’m hoping for but right now I’ve got to sit down with these guys and figure everything out." Sounds like they’ve got a lot of figuring to do, so we’ll just leave them alone for now. In the meantime, these post-"Day of Affliction" news bits may interest you…

— The paid attendance for Saturday’s event was 8,946 for a live gate take of $1,512,750, though some of those tickets could have been paid for by Affliction itself. If Tom Atencio’s total attendance figure of 13,228 spectators was accurate, then over 4,000 seats were straight-up given away. Affliction’s debut show, "Banned," brought in 14,832 total attendees. On the same night as "Day of Reckoning," 20,820 people packed the Staples Center in nearby Los Angeles to watch Shane Mosley take out Antonio Margarito.


Ben vs. Ben: Affliction “Day of Reckoning” Edition

(Looks like Andrei’s the only thing standing between Fedor and another trip to the scary rollercoasters.  That is not a safe place to stand.)

Is it sad that this installment of Ben vs. Ben is forced to dwell on questions surrounding Affliction’s possible demise?  A little, but that’s life.  We can’t just pretend that they aren’t paying Andrei Arlovski roughly 20,000 t-shirts for an event that has no clear path to a profit…or does it?  That discussion and more awaits you below.

What are the odds that this is Affliction’s last show?

BF: -300.  In other words, 3-1 odds that we’ll never see another Affliction MMA event again.  I’m not happy about that, but if I’m being honest I have to look at how difficult it’s been for them to get a second show together, how much they’ll spend on it and how little of that will be recouped in ticket sales or pay-per-view revenue, and I can’t see how they justify another money pit of a show after this.

Of course, three has always been their magic number.  That’s how many shows they said they were committed to, and it would give them the chance to put on the Josh Barnett-Fedor Emelianenko fight they’ve obviously been angling for since the start.  But if Arlovski’s getting over a million bucks for this fight, imagine what it would cost to put on Barnett-Fedor alone, not to mention the rest of the card.  It would be an obvious money-loser, and even Affliction can’t bleed cash forever.  If they don’t pull out a miracle on Saturday night, they’re going to pack it in.

BG: I really hope nobody at Affliction has their fingers crossed and breath held for this miracle of which you speak. Between Margarito/Mosley and the UFC’s usual counter-programming and market saturation, Affliction won’t even be outperforming their first event in terms of ticket sales or pay-per-view buys. But I have to assume that they already know this. Maybe Atencio & Co. are bad at running an MMA organization, but they’re not childish enough to believe that money will literally fall out of the sky. And yet they sign Gegard Mousasi to fight in their third event, and announce they’ll be promoting four events a year with Golden Boy.

I’m not Affliction’s CFO, so I don’t know how much money the company is willing to lose on this MMA pursuit. But is it naïve to think that they wouldn’t be making these concrete plans if their future really depended on the financial performance of "Day of Reckoning"? Short answer: yes. Still, I’m going to set the odds for this one at a more generous -200. Now if I could just find a gambling site that offers a parlay bet on "Affliction won’t put on a third show" + "Tito Ortiz will never fight again," I could probably make a decent profit…


Affliction Loses Hominick, Defends Yvel as DoR Draws Near

(Running around shirtless like that, it’s no wonder he got sick.  A little chicken soup will fix you right up, Mark.)

Affliction’s second event has hit its first real snag as the organization revealed that Mark Hominick has come down with pneumonia and has been forced to pull out of his bout with former IFL fighter L.C. Davis.  Affliction is looking for a replacement for Hominick and hoping that they won’t have to scratch the bout altogether.  Fans of brutal head kick knockouts should remember Davis for this little beauty (skip to 12:22, and have your ‘holy shit’ face ready), and it’d be a real shame if he ends up with no one to fight.

In other Affliction news, Tom Atencio has been hitting the media circuit hard lately.  He spoke with USA Today about the many questions surrounding “Day of Reckoning” and disputed rumors of poor ticket sales, and also responded to the backlash against Gilbert Yvel ever since it was announced that he’d take on Josh Barnett in the evening’s penultimate bout.  On the subject of Yvel’s penchant for illegal and downright despicable acts in the ring, Atencio called for leniency:

Those are in the past. It’s been four years since he’s had any problems, yet people still want to bring that up. Yeah, did he do things wrong? Yes he did. Did he pay for them? Yes he did. We sat in front of the California athletic commission and they approved him to go forward in the process. So I think that’s just it. I think it needs to be dropped. He has a chance to prove himself and if he comes out and fights and he puts on a good show — which I think he will; I know he will — then let’s just leave it alone.

After the jump, Atencio appears on Inside MMA and assures everyone that things are going juuuuuust fine.


Affliction’s Atencio Hints at Gilbert Yvel Backup Plan

(When you absolutely, positively need someone who will poke you repeatedly in the eye, there really is no substitute.)

While there are any number of reasons why an athletic commission might not license Gilbert Yvel (he is, after all, one of MMA’s most despicable people), it seems as if the CSAC is going to let him fight.  They’ve cleared him to apply for a license, which basically means that all he has to do pass medicals and not pull an Aleks Emelianenko and get himself benched at the last minute.  

But just in case Tom Atencio says he has “people in line if it doesn’t work out."

Trouble is, finding a credible replacement to face someone like Josh Barnett isn’t the same as finding someone to go against Paul Buentello in an undercard fight.  There you could just call up Gary Goodridge and nobody would feel as though they’d lost out.  In the case of Barnett, you’ve got to get a high-level replacement in order for the fight to feel like anything other than a consolation prize or premeditated ass-whipping.  

Atencio wouldn’t say who he has lined up, but whoever it is can’t be a serious opponent for Barnett.  It would have to be someone with enough of an ‘I don’t give a fuck attitude’ to take that fight on short notice, and also someone who is a non-UFC heavyweight not already on the Affliction card, which rules out Paul Buentello, thank God.

Fortunately Affliction has set hopes low by giving Barnett someone like Yvel to begin with, but dammit, if we see “Big Daddy” Goodridge come shuffling out at the last minute again, whatever credibility Affliction has left will be destroyed just as surely as he will.


Quick Hits: Manhoef to Face Hunt, Maia to Face Sonnen, Atencio to Face Someone, + More

(‘It’s not a skirt, you assholes.  The Romans wore these. Read a book.’)

The surprises just keep coming for the New Year’s Eve K-1 Dynamite show.  Jerome Le Banner is sick with the flu and has been forced to pull out of his fight with Mark Hunt, and Melvin Manhoef has agreed to take his place.  Despite the incredible weight difference between the heavyweight Hunt and the sort of middleweight Manhoef, the two will fight an MMA bout under “Dream rules” for three five-minute rounds.  

Is it a good idea for Manhoef, a vicious striker with an almost non-existent ground game to face a much heavier and damn near impossible to knock out fighter like Hunt, who also packs a serious wallop of his own?  Short answer: no.  No, it is probably not a good idea.  Especially on short notice.  But unlike many of the other bad ideas on the Dynamite NYE show, this one I’d actually love to see. 

Dammit, Japan.  Just when I want to curse your lack of rules and regulations, you go and do something like this to leave me more conflicted than ever.  I just can’t quit you.

In other news…


Affliction VP Atencio: “Fedor is Definitely Not Fighting on New Year’s Eve”

(Sorry, bro. Not this year.)

Poor Fedor. All he wants to do is fight some weird, mostly meaningless bout on New Year’s Eve every year. But all these damn contracts keep getting in the way. It’s almost as if people want the world’s top-ranked heavyweight to only fight top-ranked contenders. Fascists.

Affliction VP Tom Atencio told me yesterday that he has good reason to believe that all the talk about Fedor fighting in Japan this NYE is just idle chatter. Said Atencio:

He is not going to [fight on New Year's Eve]. We have a contract with Fedor. We have a great relationship with Fedor. I just spoke with the guys from M-1 Global and they assured me that he’s not fighting so wherever that came from is beyond me. There are a lot of rumors in this industry and a lot of speculation, but I was told through the partnership that we have that Fedor is definitely not fighting on New Year’s Eve.

Where it came from, obviously, was Fedor’s comments at Dream.6. But Atencio seems certain that the next time “The Russian Last Emperor” gets in the ring, it will be under the Affliction banner. As for when that might be, the details there are a little hazier.


Tom Atencio Calls ‘Next’ on Fedor, But Affliction II Looking More Questionable

(‘Look at that, same size I was in high school.’)

Fedor Emelianenko loves three things: competing in Sambo tournaments, eating two ice cream cones at once, and fighting in New Year’s Eve freak show matches in Japan. We know this about Fedor. We accept this about him. So that’s why when he appeared at Dream.6 and made comments about a potential NYE fight in Japan, we naturally wondered what that meant for his participation in Affliction’s second event in California. You know, the one that was “rescheduled” for January after a Fedor-less card failed to sell tickets in Las Vegas.

But Affliction VP Tom Atencio says not to worry. Fedor won’t be fighting in Japan on New Year’s Eve because Affliction has “extended his contract.” When asked if that meant Fedor was a lock for January 19, Atencio dropped this minor shocker:

“The date and location are not official,” Atencio said. “Everyone is tripping. Our next show will definitely be the 1st quarter of 2009 in January, possibly February. Nothing is confirmed though.”

Wait a minute, we’re tripping? Us, the people who think that maybe you should consider nailing down a venue, a date, and — dare I say it — even a fight card for the event you hope to sell tickets to? That’s “tripping”? Since when did Tom Atencio become a college sophomore at a Dave Matthews concert? We don’t mean to be a buzzkill or anything, but these are the kinds of details that could end up being pretty important down the road.


Golden Boy Hopes Affliction Will Be Its Key to MMA Fans, HBO “Respectfully Declines” Arlovski-Barnett

(‘How’s taste my co-promotion clusterfuck?’)

The more we hear about the Affliction/Golden Boy partnership, the stranger it begins to sound. First there was the official press release, which seemed to put more emphasis on “signature shirts” and apparel than on fights. It’s almost as if Affliction is looking for a way to retreat with dignity from the money-sucking void of fight promotion and get back to what they do best: selling overpriced, hyper-stylized clothing.

But aside from their own line of skull-themed t-shirts, what does Golden Boy get out of it? According to CEO Richard Schaefer, they hope to siphon off some of MMA’s young fan base and bring them back into the boxing fold:

“We believe Affliction and the relationships they have with that demographic, the identification they have within that demographic group I think will help bring boxing to these people,” said the Golden Boy CEO. “We think as well, many of the mixed martial arts fans are fans of combat sports, and what they’ve seen of boxing is a very exciting sport as well that maybe they will discover their love for the sport of boxing.”

Naturally, Affliction VP Tom Atencio hopes for the same thing in the other direction, which should tell Golden Boy something (as should those Vegas ticket sales) about just how much of an MMA fan base they may have to draw from. But in theory, at least, it sounds like an idea that can work. That is, if you get the right fights in front of the right audiences. Already things are off to a slow start. reports that Golden Boy tried to sell HBO on the idea of adding the original “Day of Reckoning” main event — Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett — to the Oct. 18 pay-per-view boxing bout between Kelly Pavlik and Bernard Hopkins. HBO “respectfully declined.”